You’ll most likely never heard of this “country” before; that’s because it’s not recognised by the U.N. or any other country in the world. It’s simply a breakaway region of Moldova but is now governed by the Russian army and believe me you could really tell.
Unfortunately during the time of the Soviet Union I never got to visit any part but I can only imagine Transnistria is what it would have been like; grey, miserable and with some hideous Soviet architecture
Well thankfully there’s always a positive that can be found in any negative; my Moldovan guide was lovely although she got quite offended when I said Transnistria was one of the only places I had time to visit on my Moldovan trip. So when you visit Moldova, make sure this isn’t your only stop as they don’t class this as part of their country.
This place is a proper throw back to the 1980’s, it felt very uneasy with the police and army everywhere. They don’t necessarily have your best interests at heart, personally I thought it was beyond corrupt, it’s a well-known route into Europe for drugs and other illegal items; but let’s not go there!
Transnistria has its own banks, currency, government and apparently if rumour is to be believed a huge amount of heavy weapons, but that isn’t for me to speculate!
I was advised that due to tight security I wouldn’t be allowed to take photos of many places, so unfortunately a lot of my photos were taken from the car.
To the majority of the world, Tiraspol is recognised as the second largest city in Moldova, however in Transnistria it’s known as the capital of their region.
Walking around Tiraspol you’ll see a large number of monuments and statues dedicated to various wars, the Soviet era and even Lenin.
As previously mentioned it’s an uneasy place to be, nothing feels very safe and the locals have a very Soviet-attitude so don’t expect a smile!
Let’s just put it this way – it won’t be appearing as the Capital of Culture anytime soon!
Bender (a.k.a Bendery/Tighina)
One of the more interesting places to see in Transnistria is Bender Fortress. Very close to the Moldovan border, it’s on high alert and is located in a buffer zone.
In 1538, during the Ottoman period, it was decided to create a fortress to force pressure onto Moldavia. When I visited I was the only person in the entire fortress, it wasn’t much of a surprise but there were no other tourists! It was a surreal feeling, if I hadn’t have hired a guide from Moldova there would have been no one else who could speak English; so beware of this if you plan to visit solo.
One of the first things you’ll notice as you drive into Bender is the huge military cemetery, you can enter but beware of police who may question you if you try to take photos.
If you buy anything in the Transnistria region it’s more than likely to be from a Sheriff company, they own practically everything including petrol stations, stadiums and supermarkets.
Are there any other “Places that don’t exist”?
Along with Transnistria (Moldova), there are three other break away regions in countries around the world. These include;
South Ossetia (Georgia)
Unlike Transnistria, the three listed above are partially recognised as an independent state by Russia, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Nauru.
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